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Harriers 2 Wrexham 0


Date: 01-12-12gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 2378gif away fans: 723
Harriers stifle the Dragons roar

gif Report by Philip Lench
The Harriers surged up to eleventh place in the table today following this brilliant 2-0 win against high flying Wrexham.  And to think that this time last month we were struggling third from bottom.  If it hadn't been for Tamworth getting a late win at home to Dartford today - thanks for nothing Lee Hendrie - then we could have gone up to tenth place.  We can do that, and go higher, when we go to Tamworth on Tuesday evening.

This was billed as a possible classic in the build up to the game and so it it turned out.  Two sides in a run of hot current form with the Harriers top of the form table for home games while Wrexham were at the top of the corresponding table for away games.  Both sides look to be unbeatable on current form but, barring a draw, one team would have to give in the end.

The Harriers took to the field with just the one change from the victory at Alfreton last weekend.  Keith Briggs coming in for the injured Danny Pilkington with Callum Gittings moving wider to accommodate the incoming Briggs.  Wrexham had the former Harriers, Martin Riley and Dean Keates, starting for them.

First, before the start of the game a minutes applause was held for Mitchell Cole, the former Stevenage striker who came on for them at halftime in the Trophy Final in 2007, and scored a game turning goal.  He died earlier today from a heart attack.

He was just 27yrs old.

In gorgeous, but cold, sunshine the game got underway and from the start we saw that we were continuing with the fluid passing and running off the ball that we had seen in recent weeks.  Marvin Johnson was once more a threat from out wide and Jamille Matt looked to be back at full sharpness and fitness after only a few weeks.  The Dragons were finding it difficult to cope with his inspired runs off the ball.

We could have opened the scoring in the very first minute when Lee Vaughan and Anthony Malbon combined to allow the young striker to attempt a lob of the keeper.  Josh Mayebi couldn't quite reach it but it still went just narrowly over the bar.

Keith Briggs got himself stupidly booked five minutes later when he rushed to take a free kick on the edge of the area.  The ref hadn't finished messing with the Wrexham wall as Briggs took it.  From the retake Briggs sent the kick goalwards and this time Mayebi did get to it and flipped it over.

Malbon had another chance to score from a corner soon after but, to every Harriers followers despair, the ball crashed off the post with all the visitors defenders beaten.  The veteran Brett Ormerod should have scored in a one on one with Danny Lewis but his effort was sent just wide.  It was Ormerod that tormented the Harriers in front of the TV cameras when we played Blackpool (4-1 defeat) in our first League season back in 2000.

Midway through the half and the Harriers pace wasn't letting up.  Wrexham were, at times, chasing shadows as we passed the ball about easily and our football was, once again, a joy to watch.  The link up play between Kyle Storer, Keith Briggs, Marvin Johnson, Anthony Malbon and Jamille Matt was top quality.

For all the action we had been treated to in the first half there had been very few clear chances on goal.  One did come towards the end of the first period though and that was thanks to the temperamental Jay Harris almost turning the ball into his own net.  Matt had collected the ball from a pin point Johnson pass and fired towards the goal only for Harris to try and block it but only succeeding in almost scoring an own goal.

In time added on Callum Gittings volleyed just wide from a Briggs pass.  Minutes earlier he had been yellow carded for a clumsy challenge on Harris and with it being his fifth of the season he'll now miss out on the trip to Tamworth.
  HT: 0 - 0
In comparison to the death of Mitchell Cole the fans of both teams in the stadium were given the chance to help save the life of another young man.

Local leukemia sufferer, Charlie Harris-Beard was carried around the pitch by his father to some fantastic applause and good wishes from both sets of fans.  A bucket collection was also taken and it's believed that a figure of around £2,500 was raised for his treatment and also for a Christmas trip to Lapland.  I think that the biggest applause for young Charlie came from the many Wrexham fans who wished him well and dug deep.

The half kicked off slightly late because of the collection and this time it seemed that Wrexham had come out looking for a way to take a grip on the game.  The fifteen minute period was probably their best spell of the game.

Nick Rushton came close to opening the scoring with a shot that curled around Danny Lewis' post and minutes later Jay Harris sent a good chance just wide.  They should have taken the lead soon after that when the former Histon striker, Danny Wright, soared high to meet a cross and his body weight added power to his header but thankfully for us Danny was equal to it and able to keep it out.

The Harriers were starting to struggle against the flow of attacks from Wrexham but on fifty seven minutes that all changed.

A quick break from a visitors foray forward saw Johnson swoop upfield with the ball.  With no one around to catch him until it was too late he spied Jamille Matt waiting for the cross and sent it over for the returning talisman to fire the ball home from the edge of the area leaving Mayebi no chance of stopping it.

The Harriers were rampant now and our first half quality of play returned once more as we proceeded to rip the shell shocked visitors apart.  We should have added a second goal soon after when Malbon fired a ball goalwards that the Wrexham keeper almost turned into his own net and then almost immediately Johnson had a shot that crashed into the side netting.

For the next twenty minutes Wrexham struggled to get back into the game.  Subs were made but to little effect and the Harriers failed to capitalise on that until the introduction of Nathan Blissett just minutes from the end of ninety minutes.

He came on for Matt in the eighty eighth minute and with his first touch of the ball he had put the game far beyond the chances of a Welsh comeback.

Mickey Demetriou, taking on the Johnson rôle, swooped down the wing and laid on a perfectly flighted assist straight onto the the head of the fresh legged youngster to bury the ball past the well beaten Mayebi and give the Harriers all three points and that well earned surge up the table.

Now onto Tamworth and another three points.
  FT: 2 - 0

 Goals for Harriers: Matt 57, Blissett 90

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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      Wrexham  goals   subs   cards 
Lewis     Mayebi  
L Vaughan     Westwood  
Demetriou     Ashton  
Storer     Alfei  
Dunkley     Clarke gif  
Gowling     Riley  
Gittings gif   Keates  
Briggs   Harris  
Matt gif gif     D Wright gif  
Malbon     Ormerod gif  
Johnson     Rushton gif  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
N Vaughan     Coughlin  
Williams     Devine  
Rowe gif     Morrell gif  
Vincent gif     Hunt gif  
Blissett gif gif     Cieslewicz gif  

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